Thursday, October 11, 2007

Claire Cameron's "The Line Painter"

Claire Cameron was born in 1973 and grew up in Toronto. She studied history at Queen’s University and then worked as an instructor for Outward Bound, teaching mountaineering, climbing and whitewater rafting in Oregon. Moving to London in 1999, she founded Shift Media, a consultancy with clients including the BBC, McGraw-Hill and Oxford University Press. Cameron now lives in Toronto with her husband and son.

Here she explains both the relationship between the movies and her writing process and who she would like to play the main characters in The Line Painter, her first novel.
It's not hard for me to think of The Line Painter as a movie, because it was a film before it became a book.

When I write, I play a movie in my head. I stare at the wall while my characters mark their spots and rehearse their lines. I watch each scene on small screens that I store on the inside of my eyelids.

Translating the film in my head into a novel involves selecting small details that will bring the story to life on the written page. Instead of watching a character smoke, I describe how his fingers grip a cigarette. Rather than pan across a magnificent sunset, I focus on the one moment when the rim of the sun dips down.

This to say, I've thought a lot about who might play my characters.

I'd want Sarah Polley to play the main character, Carrie. After her boyfriend dies, she takes off on a road trip across Canada and her car breaks down in the middle of the night. I need a strong actress to portray a risk-taker who has a hunger for life, but also show the mix of emotions that are part of grieving. Polley's combination of intelligence and fragility would be perfect.

Joaquin Phoenix should play the male lead. Frank is the guy who paints the lines on the highway. He rescues Carrie from the roadside. Phoenix can morph into someone who wears his past on his sleeve. He can also evoke compassion from an audience. That mix is what I need in an actor, someone who looks like trouble from the outside, who somehow draws you in.

Polley and Phoenix would be an odd couple together, which is perfect for Carrie and Frank. The screen tests would tell, but I bet they would have a certain chemistry that would make them irresistible to watch.
Read an excerpt from The Line Painter and learn more about the novel.

Visit Claire Cameron's website.

--Marshal Zeringue